Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

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Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

Postby slucero » Sun Sep 07, 2014 2:16 am

Gene Simmons must have dementia.. :mrgreen:

Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'
http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/ge ... re-of-rock
The Kiss rocker expands on his thoughts about the past, present, and future of recorded music

By Nick Simmons on September 4, 2014

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I spoke with my father about his legacy, the legacy of his contemporaries, and the state of the music industry today. Invariably, it seemed, we began to talk about file-sharing.

But this is not that old story of an out-of-touch one-percenter crying victim. As so many pointed out during the now-infamous Napster public relations war, the rich/famous/established musicians are not the victims of the digital revolution. My father instead laments the loss of opportunity for my generation, those who have begun to sense that it may no longer simply be a matter of dusting our hands, learning a skill, and putting in the time. There is a system that is broken for those of us who love songwriting, instruments, and all the soul of the analog, and it is now working against us — unless we conform. Unless we decide to stick, safely, to pop, and let gray men in a boardroom write our songs for us, dress us, and sell us from somewhere in the shadows.


The death of rock music came, as we all feared, not as a bright, burning explosion, but as a candle that slowly faded away—and in my father's view, we are all at fault, for slowly leeching its fire without giving back any of our own.


NICK SIMMONS:
You once said the music business isn't dying — it's dead. What would you say to young musicians and songwriters today trying to navigate this new terrain?

GENE SIMMONS: Don't quit your day job is a good piece of advice. When I was coming up, it was not an insurmountable mountain. Once you had a record company on your side, they would fund you, and that also meant when you toured they would give you tour support. There was an entire industry to help the next Beatles, Stones, Prince, Hendrix, to prop them up and support them every step of the way. There are still record companies, and it does apply to pop, rap, and country to an extent. But for performers who are also songwriters — the creators — for rock music, for soul, for the blues — it's finally dead.

Rock is finally dead.

I am so sad that the next 15-year-old kid in a garage someplace in Saint Paul, that plugs into his Marshall and wants to turn it up to ten, will not have anywhere near the same opportunity that I did. He will most likely, no matter what he does, fail miserably. There is no industry for that anymore. And who is the culprit? There's always the changing tide of interests — music taste changes with each generation. To blame that is silly. That was always the exciting part, after all: "What's next?" But there's something else. The death of rock was not a natural death. Rock did not die of old age. It was murdered. And the real culprit is that kid's 15-year-old next-door neighbor, probably a friend of his. Maybe even one of the bandmates he's jamming with. The tragedy is that they seem to have no idea that they just killed their own opportunity — they killed the artists they would have loved. Some brilliance, somewhere, was going to be expressed, and now it won't, because it's that much harder to earn a living playing and writing songs. No one will pay you to do it.

The masses do not recognize file-sharing and downloading as stealing because there's a copy left behind for you — it's not that copy that's the problem, it's the other one that someone received but didn't pay for. The problem is that nobody will pay you for the 10,000 hours you put in to create what you created. I can only imagine the frustration of all that work, and having no one value it enough to pay you for it.

It's very sad for new bands. My heart goes out to them. They just don't have a chance. If you play guitar, it's almost impossible. You're better off not even learning how to play guitar or write songs, and just singing in the shower and auditioning for The X Factor. And I'm not slamming The X Factor, or pop singers. But where's the next Bob Dylan? Where's the next Beatles? Where are the songwriters? Where are the creators? Many of them now have to work behind the scenes, to prop up pop acts and write their stuff for them.

Here's a frightening thought: from 1958 to 1983, name 100 musical anythings that are iconic, that seem to last beyond their time.

NS: The Beatles, The Stones...

GS: Elvis, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, the Stones, Jimi Hendrix, the numerous classic Motown artists, Madonna, U2, Prince, Pink Floyd... The list goes on. Individuals, all unanimously considered classic, timeless, revolutionary. Now from '84 until today, name some. Just give me a few — artists that, even after their passing, are or will be inescapable. Artists on the same level as the ones I just mentioned. Even if you don't like them, they will be impossible to avoid, or deny, even after they've stopped making music and maybe passed on. In fact, they become bigger when they stop. Name artists that even compare with the ones I just named.

NS: Nirvana?

GS:
Nirvana. That's about it. They are the notable exception. Keep thinking. It's harder, isn't it, to name artists with as much confidence? The pickings are so slim, and it's not an arbitrary difference. There was a 10- to 15-year period in the '60s and '70s that gave birth to almost every artist we now call "iconic," or "classic." If you know anything about what makes longevity, about what makes something an everlasting icon, it's hard to find after that. The craft is gone, and that is what technology, in part, has brought us. What is the next Dark Side of the Moon? Now that the record industry barely exists, they wouldn't have a chance to make something like that. There is a reason that, along with the usual top-40 juggernauts, some of the biggest touring bands are half old people, like me.

NS: What does this bode for the industry of the future?

GS: There is no record industry, unfortunately. Not like there was. There are some terrific bands out there — Tame Impala, which you turned me on to, and so on. And during the '60s and '70s they would've become big, I'm convinced.

But, strangely, today, everything pales before Psy's "Gangnam Style." Look up the numbers on that song. He blows everyone else out of the water.

NS: The biggest song of all time is an Internet meme. Sounds almost like popular music is jumping the shark.

GS: Yes. My guess is that despite those numbers, it will still pass from the public eye in a short time. I don't know what that means, but it's clear that longevity is practically dead, and new artists that stand the test of time — meaning, artists whose art can survive them, who become icons — are so rare as to almost be nonexistent.

NS: Considering that it doesn't seem to affect you directly, how did you become so outspoken about this? Along with a few public figures I could name, you've been one of the most vocal critics of file-sharing.

GS: My perspective is decidedly different than perhaps the perspective of somebody who was born here. If you're a native-born American, my contention is that you take a lot of things for granted. All the freedoms and opportunities you have here are expected, and you feel entitled. I think this has taken over the American psyche. I find that many of the more patriotic people are immigrants, and they're the ones who stand still when the flag goes up, out of gratitude. My sense is that file-sharing started in predominantly white, middle- and upper-middle-class young people who were native-born, who felt they were entitled to have something for free, because that's what they were used to. If you believe in capitalism — and I'm a firm believer in free-market capitalism — then that other model is chaos. It destroys the structure. You'll never understand unless you're the one that wrote the song, and you were the one that had the band, whose music people took without paying you for. Once you're the one who's been robbed, there's a moment of clarity.

And let's be clear: I'm not the guy to be pouting and complaining about stuff. I make a decent living. I'm very, very lucky. But that's because we started before the chaos, in the days when people had to buy records. If you didn't like a band, you didn't buy their albums, and the people decided.

NS: They voted with their dollar.

GS: That's right. And going back to that national psyche thing... I firmly believe that there's something missing in America, and it used to exist, and it's now corny. Patriotism is corny, and that's a sad state of affairs. It really is. I don't care what side of the aisle you're on — I find faults in both, some social and some political issues — but everywhere, people are taking a lot of things for granted. And you would know the majesty that is America if you came from hundreds of other countries I could name. If you come from a place where every day above ground is a life-threatening event, and you had the same ambition and values as the most successful people here, you would never reach the same heights. And of course this applies to Western society at large, but America especially. I think every day, we forget about the — and here's the corny part — glory of America. And that's too fucking bad.

NS: Any last thoughts?

GS: Always, but I think I've talked enough for a lifetime.











Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.


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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

Postby AR » Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:19 am

He makes good points but however.............

The record companies raped consumers with an initial cost of $18.99 a CD when that format hit the market. Think about the profits on that in the mid 1980's. No wonder people started stealing music. The record companies bilked the consumers forever.

People were always able to get free music with blank cassettes.

I've bought the same music on album, 8-Track, Cassette, CD, Remastered CD's, etc.

Now on digital I purchased it, own it and can do what I want with it.

The real reason rock is dead is because of American Idol, and the pop shit shows. They still sell music at least briefly. Also the record companies never adjusted their business model. I will still buy a CD if packaged with a bonus DVD. Need more value.

Just face it. The bands we loved are the Chubby Checkers, Franki Vali's that our parents were listening to when we were teens. No one in their mid 60's are going to sell anything.
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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

Postby RPM » Sun Sep 07, 2014 10:00 am

I agree AR , but what struck me was his very good point of relative artist between the time periods.
I think he was right on the money. I have a 22 year old who just went to see KISS / Leppard ... he LOVED it
He also got to see Halestorm ...kids got good taste...:) anyhow filesharing is not why so few bands from 84 to
present will not be remembered, but the business model has certainly changed. but with cheap Digital recording
and internet distribution one could argue its actually easier for new artist to promote their music.... profiting from it
maybe another story and more to his point.
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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

Postby slucero » Sun Sep 07, 2014 1:01 pm

the second the labels embraced digitizing their product they cut their throats.

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

Postby No Surprize » Sun Sep 07, 2014 10:43 pm

What he said is true. Record companies today don't nurture bands anymore. If you don't produce a gigantic hit single or album for them after 2 tries, your yesterday's news. Plus, with the Thievery of Napster and the internet in general, bands hardly make a dime anymore from their art. They use to tour on the back of their sales, now, they tour to MAKE money and the price's reflect that. And today, who are the actual ROCK GODS? There aren't any. Oh, the shame and humanity of it all.
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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

Postby Monker » Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:52 am

I agree with most of what he said.

But, it would be nice if people like Gene would pool some resources together and start Jurassic Rock records. Then, they can run the business the way they feel it should be done, and show the big labels what they are doing wrong. Until then, he is just whining and blowing off frustration. People like Andrew have been doing a LOT more for the industry than people like Gene who like to talk a lot, but do nothing.
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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

Postby No Surprize » Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:48 pm

Monker wrote:I agree with most of what he said.

But, it would be nice if people like Gene would pool some resources together and start Jurassic Rock records. Then, they can run the business the way they feel it should be done, and show the big labels what they are doing wrong. Until then, he is just whining and blowing off frustration. People like Andrew have been doing a LOT more for the industry than people like Gene who like to talk a lot, but do nothing.



While he doesn't have a record label, he has financed and produced some albums. I wonder why though someone of his or anyone of his stature, doesn't do that. To much risk involved? My take is the music industry has changed so much in the last 15 years that it will never return to the 60's, 70's and 80's era of records, 8-track, cassette's & cd's sales and it's just not worth it. Maybe Andrew can enlighten us.
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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

Postby AR » Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:12 am

Dee Snider responds to Gene Simmons and makes some of the same points I did.

http://loudwire.com/twisted-sister-dee- ... ead-claim/

For example, take the bill of goods the record industry sold the mainstream public when introducing the CD format. “We have to charge more for it, because it’s a new technology and there’s a cost to setting up the infrastructure to produce them.” The consumer believed them–it made sense–so they paid a $18.98 list price for a product they had been paying $7.99 list for previously. After all “you can’t break a CD with a hammer!” (Remember that?)

But when the infrastructure was in place and paid for in full, and the cost of producing a CD dropped to less than a dollar, did the record companies roll back the list price in kind? Not on your life. They weren’t about to do the right thing and cut their increased revenue stream. Those fat cats were enjoying their ill-gotten gains way too much.

So when the general public finally realized they were being had, and the opportunity arose for them to stick it to the man, what did they do? The same thing their Woodstock Nation, baby boomer parents had done when they had their chance…they stuck it and they stuck it good. Does anyone remember Abbey Hoffman’s “Steal this Book”, the massive selling, early 70’s hippy guide “focused on ways to fight the government, and against corporations in any way possible.” Multiply that by a googolplex.



Read More: Dee Snider Responds to Gene Simmons' 'Rock is Dead' Claim | http://loudwire.com/twisted-sister-dee- ... ck=tsmclip
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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

Postby ebake02 » Fri Sep 12, 2014 10:39 am

I wouldn't say it's dead but it's certainly on life support. Halestorm, Skillet and Eclipse is the only modern rock that I really listen to anymore.
Last edited by ebake02 on Fri Sep 12, 2014 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

Postby Monker » Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:44 am

I know this is a popular theory...but I simply disagree with this. A bunch of teens and 20somethings wanting to "stick it to the man" because they were angry about paying too much for CD's is just way over-analyzing things. People are not THAT organized or smart to do this.

The bottom line is people are cheap, and free is cheaper than almost anything. So, if it's available, why not download an album for free? Nobody cared...and, well, it's free. Big deal. That's the attitude. When I was 13, did I care about taping the entire Departure album off the radio? Nope...it was free. Did I care about getting involved in CD taping groups where one of us would get a CD and than tape it for a dozen other people. Nope...it's free. And, I'm sure there are other examples.

Did the record companies care? At first they did until they got a recordable media levy, or whatever, for every blank cassette sold...and later every black CD/R sold. You can't exactly do such a thing with digital files on the internet being downloaded to your computer and then added to your device.

THAT is why this became such an issue...there is no revenue stream to the record industry for free downloadable music

Then, instead of embracing what the public WANTED, the recording industry fought against it...alienating their own consumers. How absolutely stupid. Now, everything is on iTunes...a virtual monopoly. The funny thing is, people are willing to PAY a buck or three for a song...but NOT the $10 for a CD...and they can get only the songs they like, instead of an album of songs where they like one and are taking a chance on the rest.

So, now we have a completely different business model which is best fit for singles, especially pop singles. Will there ever be another "Dark Side of the Moon"? Not the way things are.

And, in the full article, Dee is right...he can say rock is alive in the niches. But, that isn't Gene's point. Gene is saying there isn't going to be another Led Zeppelin, or Pink Floyd, or Beatles, or Stones, or whatever. These huge ICONS are not coming forward...and haven't for 25yrs, or more.

AR wrote:Dee Snider responds to Gene Simmons and makes some of the same points I did.

http://loudwire.com/twisted-sister-dee- ... ead-claim/

For example, take the bill of goods the record industry sold the mainstream public when introducing the CD format. “We have to charge more for it, because it’s a new technology and there’s a cost to setting up the infrastructure to produce them.” The consumer believed them–it made sense–so they paid a $18.98 list price for a product they had been paying $7.99 list for previously. After all “you can’t break a CD with a hammer!” (Remember that?)

But when the infrastructure was in place and paid for in full, and the cost of producing a CD dropped to less than a dollar, did the record companies roll back the list price in kind? Not on your life. They weren’t about to do the right thing and cut their increased revenue stream. Those fat cats were enjoying their ill-gotten gains way too much.

So when the general public finally realized they were being had, and the opportunity arose for them to stick it to the man, what did they do? The same thing their Woodstock Nation, baby boomer parents had done when they had their chance…they stuck it and they stuck it good. Does anyone remember Abbey Hoffman’s “Steal this Book”, the massive selling, early 70’s hippy guide “focused on ways to fight the government, and against corporations in any way possible.” Multiply that by a googolplex.



Read More: Dee Snider Responds to Gene Simmons' 'Rock is Dead' Claim | http://loudwire.com/twisted-sister-dee- ... ck=tsmclip
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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

Postby AR » Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:32 am

Before CD's you could always just buy the song you like on a 45 rpm single. That option was always available.
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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

Postby SF-Dano » Sun Sep 14, 2014 12:07 pm

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Re: Gene Simmons: 'Rock Is Finally Dead'

Postby kgdjpubs » Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:26 am

Monker wrote:
And, in the full article, Dee is right...he can say rock is alive in the niches. But, that isn't Gene's point. Gene is saying there isn't going to be another Led Zeppelin, or Pink Floyd, or Beatles, or Stones, or whatever. These huge ICONS are not coming forward...and haven't for 25yrs, or more.


generally speaking, I think he's right also. There have been a couple of contenders over the years (Matchbox Twenty was a possible until Rob Thomas put the band on hold to focus on his solo career). The entire model has changed though. Maybe a few will get there in the pop sector, but the disposable nature of the industry as it stands now does not bode well for the extended career.
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